Let us tell you a story.
A commissioner comes into a new job running a large organization. He declares he is going to clean up the image of the sport and is going to demand that those fortunate enough to gain the opportunity to be a part of the league respect the game with their off the field action. He says that if they don't, he is going to exercise new powers to suspend them.
And he does.
A scandal comes along. It involves game day conduct. It involves an organization willfully acting to operate in direct conflict with a reminder the commissioner issued to all teams in the weeks or days before the season started. It involved a coach deciding to demonstrate his complete disregard for the rules and his complete lack of concern about being caught. He did it against an opposing coach that flat out new his modis operandi. He did it with not one eye toward possible consequences. His explanation was ridiculous. He didn't understand the rule?!
He was caught.
The suspension happy commissioner was given an opportunity to exemplify his commitment to the integrity of the game as it relates to on the field incidents. He was given the chance to drop the hammer and show that the NFL will not tolerate such callous disregard for all the NFL stands for.
Instead, he fined a billion dollar organization less than a million bucks. And took away a few draft picks.
Message received commissioner, loud and clear.
Suspensions are reserved for those that hurt the marketing of NFL with bad press for being jerks off the field. Those that thumb their noses directly at you on the field and tell you ridiculous lies as their excuse are safe. Gotchya!
Perhaps even more outrageous than Goodell's complete lack of spine in standing up to the league's flagship franchise is the media's handling of the aftermath.
We aren't going to pretend that this is the most horrible form of cheating ever documented. But it is cheating. It is bad for the game.
Remember when Michael Vick was initially accused of the dog fighting and abuse? Do you remember Donovan McNabb saying it would be prudent to wait for things to run their course before we cast judgment? Do you remember the media lambasting him and accusing him of supporting dog abuse? Do you remember McNabb having to come out with another statement explaining that -surprise - no, he didn't support dog abuse?
Any words of support for Vick were demonized in by the media. Anyone asking the public and media to reserve judgment was labelled as horrible and evil.
"I thought the fan support was terrific. You could really feel them behind us in this game. I was touched by some of the support that they gave. It was a good feeling. I think that this team has a lot of confidence in our fans and I kind of feel like the fans have confidence in us. That's a good situation."
That is what Bill Belichik had to say after the Pat's game.
"No one supported Belichick with more passion than linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who stood at his locker after the game and defended his coach and his franchise.
It meant a lot," said Belichick. "Nobody has more heart on this team than Tedy Bruschi and I mean that figuratively.
The team was very supportive, the entire organization, starting with Mr. [Robert] Kraft going all the way down to the players and everybody else. Tedy, he's one of our emotional leaders. He's one of our best players. We have players who are well-respected. I don't think there's anybody who has any more respect on this team than Tedy does."
Why is the media not roasting Bruschi for such unconscionable defense of cheating? Why is Kraft not being chastised for coddling a cheating culture? Where is the outrage for this support and lack of condemnation? Why is the media not devouring this chance to beat down anyone with a positive word for Belichik? Why are the fans of the Patriots being portrayed as wonderful for showing support for this misconduct?
We watched anyone asking for the observance of due process in the Vick case receive a lashing from the press.
Now, we are watching those that are rallying around a man who essentially has admitted to wrong doing (and used possibly the most mundane and ridiculous excuse he could think up) portrayed as heroes.
Rally round the cheater. The world's against us. Win it for Belichik.
Where's the outrage at the support for the cheater and the cheating?
Oh, that's right.
There's none left now that the Negro QB is being fitted for his prison orange.